The Surprising Haile Selassie Statue Unveiled In Addis Ababa By The African Union

There’s a certain surprise to the unveiling of a statue of Haile Selassie in Addis Ababa – as well as it being a fairly normal thing for the African Union to have done. For the Emperor was one of the founders of the Organisation of African Unity, a forerunner of the African Union. Organisations tend to put up statues to their founders. The surprise, of the bit of it, comes from it all going up in Addis Ababa, even if that’s where the main offices are.…

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Where To With The Metropolitans?

Back last spring when Tim decided to introduce the Continental Telegraph, we discussed the kind of content that I could produce.

I suggested we offer a serial—or soap, if you prefer—that comments on current mores, politics, social behaviours, and culture.

What ensued is what you will have read or passed over: The Metropolitans (strap line: A saga of everyday life in the Big L and a wry look at contemporary culture). A story about a prime minister and her entourage negotiating Brexit.…

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If Only Spiked’s Phil Mullan Understood The Economics Of Trade

Trade’s not important we’re told, the trading arrangements after Brexit make little difference, be cool bro’. While the be cool injunction is fair enough that’s not actually how the economics of trade do work out. Trade’s actually vitally important for the very reason Mullan gives us that it’s not.

Which is pretty good going even for someone at a place as contrarian as Spiked.

Tariffs are a distraction
It isn’t trade that drives growth and prosperity.

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Venezuela’s Moving Oil Business To Russian Banking System To Beat US Sanctions

Venezuela is trying to beat the US sanctions on its oil exports by moving the payments system over to the Russian banking system. This has the merit – for Venezuela’s current government at least – that it’ll work in the first iteration. Whether it continues to work after that depends upon how aggressively the US decides to pursue the enforcement of the sanctions.

For it’s worth noting what the US claims as being within its own jurisdiction.…

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Why Make 18 The Age To Use Dating Apps?

We’ve one of those little joys of life to observe here, bad law in the making. The Sunday Times has investigated the use of dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder by those underage and found some shocking events. But the law that’s going to come out of this is going to be bad law. For the announcement is that those under 18 will be banned from using such apps.

Why?

We have an age of consent to sexual activity in this country, it’s 16.…

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William Keegan, The Observer’s Economics Editor, Really Should Know This

Sadly it appears that William Keegan, for many long years the economics editor at The Observer, has fallen victim to the problem that bedevils all too many who do some economics in their youth. They grasp the structure and relationships of the times but fail entirely to understand how structural changes change, well, change those structures.

Actually, it’s worse than this. For someone who did the mandatory minimum two terms of economics in a PPE degree in the 80s – say – the dimly remembered stuff will be what was in the textbooks then, that being what formed the views of the textbook writer that generation earlier in the 1950s and 60s.…

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Amber Rudd Really Is Dreadfully Ignorant About Pensions And Sir Philip Green

That politicians disagree with us or each other about what should be done, what defines the Good Life, is fair enough, that’s rather what they’re for after all. To sift through such definitions, compare them with reality and thus bring us as close as possible to that defined Good Life. But to be in an argument with reality is not a good look. It means they’re either stupid or ignorant – the reader can make up their own mind here.…

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Ikea Leaves New Zealand Off Map – After Announcing Store In NZ

Apparently Ikea is going to drop a store or two into the Pacific Ocean – at least, according to their own map they are. Ikea has a lovely map you can hang on the wall, the Bjorksta, which manages to leave New Zealand entirely off. And yet Ikea has also announced that they’re going to open a store or two in that land that doesn’t exist. Wet furniture is such a turn on, eh?

The furniture chain Ikea has apologised after becoming the latest offender to leave New Zealand off a map.

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Edinburgh’s Tourist Tax Is The Perfect Taxation – Of Those Without The Vote

As Colbert pointed out the art of taxation is to gain the maximum of feathers with the least hissing from the goose. The hissing that politicians so dislike being those with the vote to stop them being politicians in the future. So, the perfect form of taxation is of those who don’t have the vote. At least, those who cannot vote against the politician who has just taxed them.

This is what makes tourist taxes such a joy.…

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CFPB To Drop Ridiculous Rule On Ability To Repay

That certain areas of life require a certain amount of regulation is clearly and obviously true. So too is the idea that there are others where we require no legal nor bureaucratic regulation, it’s something we can leave entirely to the market and its incentives to sort out. The great arguments come in snarling over which is which of course.

Which brings us to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its regulation of payday loans. Given that the genesis of this organisation was Elizabeth Warren obviously it’s on the wrong side of that snarling match over what should be regulated by whom.…

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